A mother-of-three has died after suffering a rare catastrophic reaction to the AstraZeneca coronavirus jab, her family has said.
Lucy Taberer, 47, fell seriously ill after getting the jab and developed blood clots in her brain which caused a stroke.
Her heartbroken fiance, Mark Tomlin, from Aylestone in Leicester, has since spoken about the devastating impact her death has had on the family including the couple’s five-year-old son Orson.
He said Lucy, a playgroup leader, initially experienced mild side effects in the days after she was vaccinated at the Peepul Centre in Belgrave on March 19.
But her condition gradually worsened, causing her to be rushed into hospital. Despite best efforts by medics to save her, she died 22 days after being vaccinated.
A post-mortem found the mother had suffered from cerebral venous sinus thrombosis – a rare and deadly type of brain clot.
Mr Tomlin said: ‘I don’t want people to be put off having a vaccine but I do want people to know that there are risks.
‘We’re not anti-vax. Lucy certainly wasn’t – she was so excited about getting it.’
In total 389 Britons have suffered blood clotting disorders after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, of which 68 died. The NHS has deployed 45million doses of the British-made jab.
Mother-of-three Lucy Taberer, 47, fell seriously ill after getting the jab and developed blood clots on her brain which caused a massive stroke
Under-40s are being given alternatives to AstraZeneca’s vaccine because the conditions seem to be affecting younger people more often.
Speaking about Lucy’s experience, Mr Tomlin said: ‘She knew there might be some side effects but she wasn’t worried. We thought they would just clear up as most people’s do.
‘That reassured her and she didn’t think it was anything to do with the vaccine but things just started to get worse and the panic began.
‘She developed a bruise about the size of a tennis ball on her. Normally she had all the energy in the world but she became tired and lethargic.
‘Then she got a really bad rash on her face and side. Her gums started to change colour and we got really worried.’
On April 1 – 13 days after her vaccination – Lucy was rushed to the Leicester Royal Infirmary where blood clots were diagnosed.
Her heartbroken fiance Mark Tomlin, from Aylestone, Leicester, has since spoken about the devastating impact Lucy’s death has had on the family including the couple’s five-year-old son Orson
What is the risk of getting blood clot after AstraZeneca’s jab?
British health chiefs last month recommended all under-40s are offered an alternative to AstraZeneca’s vaccine because of blood clot fears.
More than 330 cases of a rare clotting disorder have been spotted among 24.2million recipients of the jab — or around one in every 75,000 people. Fifty-eight patients have died.
But statisticians analysed the numbers and found rates were slightly higher among younger adults, with females appearing to be at most risk, too.
Cambridge academics estimated around 1.9 in every 100,000 twenty-somethings given AstraZeneca’s jab would suffer serious blood clots alongside abnormally low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia) — the specific disorder linked to the jab. For thirty-somethings the figure was 1.5.
They compared that against the average number of Covid intensive care admissions that would be prevented by giving that cohort the jab. And they then analysed the risk/benefit ratio in different scenarios, based entirely on how widespread the disease was at the time.
For example, only 0.2 ICU admissions would be prevented for every 100,000 twenty-somethings given the jab at prevalence levels seen in April (fewer than 30,000 infections per week). For adults in their thirties, the figure was around 0.8.
It showed, however, the benefits of giving AstraZeneca’s vaccine to 40-49 year olds outweighed the potential risk (1.7 prevented ICU admissions per 100,000 people compared to 1.2 blood clots).
But the decision to recommend under-40s are offered Pfizer or Moderna’s jab instead was basically only taken because the outbreak was squashed to extremely low levels, as well as the fact younger people are known to face tiny odds of falling seriously ill with coronavirus.
For older adults, who the disease poses a much greater threat to, the benefits of vaccination are clear, regulators insist. Jabs have already saved around 13,000 lives in England, top scientists believe.
However, because there were so few blood clots, it made it impossible for No10’s vaccine advisory panel to give an exact age cut-off. Instead, they were only able to analyse figures by decade.
The first clots to alarm people were ones appearing in veins near the brains of younger adults in a condition called CSVT (cerebral sinus venous thrombosis).
Since that, however, people have developed clots in other parts of their bodies and they are usually linked to low numbers of platelets, which is unusual because platelets are usually used by the immune system to build the clots.
In most cases people recover fully and the blockages are generally easy to treat if spotted early, but they can trigger strokes or heart or lung problems if unnoticed.
Symptoms depend entirely on where the clot is, with brain blockages causing excruitiating headaches. Clots in major arteries in the abdomen can cause persistent stomach pain, and ones in the leg can cause swelling of the limbs.
Researchers in Germany believe the problem lies in the adenovirus vector — a common cold virus used so both vaccines can enter the body.
Academics investigating the issue say the complication is ‘completely absent’ in mRNA vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s because they have a different delivery mechanism.
Experts at Goethe-University of Frankfurt and Ulm University, in Helmholtz, say the AstraZeneca vaccine enters the nucleus of the cell – a blob of DNA in the middle. For comparison, the Pfizer jab enters the fluid around it that acts as a protein factory.
Bits of coronavirus proteins that get inside the nucleus can break up and the unusual fragments then get expelled out into the bloodstream, where they can trigger clotting in a tiny number of people, scientists claim.
Doctors treated her with blood thinning drugs but her condition worsened still but she had blood clots and she suffered a massive stroke.
She was then transferred to the intensive care unit at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) but, despite surgery to save her, consultants said there was nothing more that could be done for her and recommended her life support be switched off on April 10.
Mark, a 57-year-old metal worker, said it was consultants at the QMC who said Lucy’s severe illness was vaccine-related.
Her death certificate says she died of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and vaccine-associated thrombosis with thrombocytopenia.
Mark said: ‘We were so happy and looking forward to the future and then suddenly I’m having to explain to Orson that his mummy has died.
‘I’d already told him that mummy had gone into hospital because she needed medicine.
‘Then I told him that the medicine hadn’t worked, and that mummy couldn’t come home then a couple of days later I told him that she had died.
‘Our world has been turned upside down. Every day I wake up and Lucy is the first thing I think about.’
Mark said: ‘I don’t want people to be put off having a vaccine but I do want people to know that there are risks.
‘We’re not anti-vax. Lucy certainly wasn’t – she was so excited about getting it.
‘She’s stuck like glue to all the lockdown rules and saw the vaccine as a step to getting out again and seeing her and hugging her mates.
‘She couldn’t wait to get it but nobody thought this would happen.’
Mark said that Lucy had had expressed some concerns about the process on the day she was jabbed – centring on how quick her vaccination had been carried out and that it had not been explained well to her.
He said he would have been happier if she had got her jab a GP surgery as he did.
He said: ‘I had my first dose (of Pfizer) at my GPs where they were really good in talking through the process.
‘I still don’t think I’ll get my second dose after everything that has happened.
‘I’m not saying people shouldn’t get vaccinated. It’s every individual’s choice.
‘I do know how rare it is for things to go so badly wrong but it has happened to us and that has affected how I think about things myself.’
A spokesperson for the Leicester City NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, which is running the vaccination programme in the city, told LeicestershireLive: ‘We were very sorry to hear of Lucy’s death, which is clearly very tragic and deeply upsetting for Lucy’s family and friends.
‘All vaccination sites – temporary such as pop – ups or fixed – are subject to strict operating procedures covering all aspects of the service.
‘This includes vaccine storage and handling, infection protection and control, workforce requirements and training, and have clinical supervision.
‘The safety of patients is paramount and the operating process includes arrangements for consent, observation and responding to incidents.’
Mark’s daughter Leanne, 33, is now helping him care for Orson.
She stressed the family did not want to put others off having the vaccine.
‘That’s not what this is about at all but we think it is important that people know what happened to Lucy and that cases like hers are not forgotten’, she said.
Leanne said Lucy’s case had been reported to the Government’s Yellow Card service where adverse reactions to vaccines can be recorded.
More than 200,000 cases of such reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccination had been recorded by Yellow Card by June 9.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended healthy people under 40 years old be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Other countries have suspended its use over concerns it can cause clots.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘Extremely rare cases of blood clots with low levels of platelets have been observed following vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.
‘The majority of these cases occurred within the first 14 days following vaccination but some have also been reported after this period. Some cases were life-threatening or had a fatal outcome.
‘It is important to remember the benefits of vaccination to give protection against COVID-19 still outweigh any potential risks.’
Mark has had to cut the hours he works by half since Lucy’s death to look after Orson and that has led to him struggling financially.
Leanne set up an online fundraising page to help with childcare and other costs and support Orson which has raised more than £9,000.
She said: ‘We have been blown away by the reaction and people’s generosity.’
The BBC star, model and mother-of-three who have died after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine
Childminder Tanya Smith, 43, with partner Kenneth Edwards
Childminder Tanya Smith, 43, had her first AstraZeneca jab in March and died just over a week later after being rushed to hospital with severe stomach cramps.
An inquest is set to take place to determine the circumstances surrounding the mother-of-three’s death.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency later confirmed it will review Ms Smith’s case as part of an ongoing review into the occurrence of blood clots and any potential links to the vaccine.
Ms Smith’s partner Kenneth Edwards said Tanya had felt ‘pretty rough’ for a couple of days after the jab and then woke one morning in pain and called 111 for help.
He said her suffering did not ease even after a paramedic attended and gave her painkillers and she was taken to Derriford Hospital where it was later found she had suffered multiple blood clots.
Lisa Shaw developed ‘severe’ headaches a week after having the jab
Lisa Shaw, who worked for BBC Newcastle, developed ‘severe’ headaches a week after having the jab and fell seriously ill a few days later, relatives said in a statement.
Ms Shaw, 44, died at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, on May 21 having been treated in intensive care for blood clots and bleeding.
A fact-of-death certificate lists the vaccine as one of the possible factors but document does not determine a cause of death.
It is expected that will only be released following an inquest into her death.
The presenter was not known to have any underlying health problems and her death came as a devastating shock to family and colleagues.
Stephanie Dubois, 39, died in a Cypriot hospital after a blood clotting
British model Stephanie Dubois died in a Cypriot hospital last month after a blood clotting incident after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The 39-year-old suffered a brain haemorrhage and was in a coma before her death.
Cypriot health authorities are currently investigating whether Dubois’s death was linked to the AstraZeneca jab.
The model posted publicly about feeling ill after having the vaccine on May 6.
Ms Dubois had said that she felt ‘horrendous’ after the first dose and fell ill days later.
Neil Astles, 59, from Warrington, became the UK’s first named victim of blood clots
Neil Astles, 59, from Warrington, became the UK’s first named victim of blood clots after receiving the AZ vaccine when he passed away on Easter Sunday.
Mr Astles suffered 10 days of severe headaches and a steady loss of vision.
His sister Dr Alison Astles, a pharmacist at the University of Huddersfield, said her brother was a keen runner, was ‘fit and healthy’ and had no history of blood clots.
But he developed a headache about a week after his vaccination March 17.
When his headaches and eyesight worsened, he was rushed to A&E at the Royal Liverpool Hospital by his brother, before being admitted to intensive care, where he died more than a fortnight later.